The 16th book in the popular Hannah Swensen mystery series will delight followers of Joanne Flukes’s popular series. You do not need to read this series in order. However, like the cookies and pastries Hannah Swensen sells, once you have read one of the books, you will come back for more.
When I reviewed ‘Devils Food Cake Murder’ by Joanne Fluke, I discussed the outstanding cast of characters she has incorporated into her books.
‘Red Velvet Cupcake’ includes the same set of captivating characters in a complex story. This story features the return of Dr. Bev, who left Lake Eden in shame after coming close to marrying Norman, one of the men Hannah is dating. This time Bev returns on the arm of Roger Dalworth, a wealthy investor.
As the story opens, Hannah is going to the Grand Opening of the refurbished Albion Hotel. She is serving Red Velvet cupcakes in the hotel’s new Red Velvet lounge. One of the features of the hotel is the penthouse with a fabulous roof top garden. During the party, Barbara Donnelly, the police secretary falls or is pushed off the roof, and rushed to the hospital, with a head injury. Barbara claims to be seeing monsters and a brother that is trying to kill her, despite the fact that Barbara is an only child.
Are these unlikely visions due to the head injury? Hannah believes something nefarious is occurring and works with Beverly’s confused memory to determine what actually occurred. Along the way, another body is uncovered, Hannah is suspected of murder and ends up once again in danger for her life.
For those of you who enjoy solving a puzzle mystery, this book is for you.
As a culinary mystery, recipes feature prominently in this series. I always love going back over the recipes at the end of the book, my mouth watering. I often mark the recipes which I plan to make some day, although I confess, I never do.
Instead of reading this book, I decided to listen to it during a long trip with an unabridged audio tape recording. According to Publisher Weekly, there are 26 sweet and savory recipes featured in the book. While I didn’t count, the reader interrupted the flow of the book to read the recipes many times. I understand the desire to not shortchange purchasers of the audio book by not providing recipes, but there has to be a better way to present the recipes. I ended up fast forwarding through the recipes.
Five stars out of five.
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